Monday, February 24, 2014

Myrtle Beach Marathon 2014


 Well, there is a little more to the story than that I guess.  Training had gone very well in the  weeks leading up to the race and I was feeling confident that even if I couldn't get the pr I would at least be able get the minimum BQ needed which would be a 3:39:59. The weather forecast was looking great a couple of days out but then things changed. Rain would move into the area around 4am and with it heavy winds.

 I had arrived on late Wednesday afternoon because of the snow and ice storm and wanted to make sure I was there and not have to deal with any possible problems if I waited until Friday. It was cold and  Thursday was windy but Friday was a very pleasant afternoon.

 I slept fairly well and was up at 4:30 to prepare. It's about a 1 mile walk from the hotel and I was happy to have an emergency poncho to stay dry as  I walked to the start in the dark. I found my spot near the 3:35 pace group and luckily the rain stopped just as the race began. My target pace was 8:11 and even with the crowded start my first mile was 8:15 and it felt easy so I was pretty happy at this point.  I was on pace and in a groove but around mile 3 was when the wind began to get noticeable as the crowd thinned out. It was blowing in the teen's at this point and I just backed off the effort a little but was still able to stay within a few seconds per mile of target pace.

 Around mile 6 we went into the shopping area with several turns and got a bit of a break from the wind  and I knew that soon we would predominantly have a tailwind for awhile. Unfortunately the wind had increased and was now gusting into the 30+ mph range and swirling. With the tailwind I was cruising along a few seconds per mile faster than goal pace with an easy effort and tried to take advantage by just relaxing knowing that I would need the energy later. I went through the half in 1:46:30, a one minute cushion , still feeling good and confident.

  The next 4 miles were uneventful and I was still building the cushion by a few seconds per mile. Then the course turned and the wind was now either at our side or slightly in the face and my pace slowed slightly but still with the cushion it was no problem. No, the problem was when we turned again just before the 19 mile mark and now we were straight into the wind tunnel. I was soon feeling the effects  of the previous miles efforts and now it felt like I was being shoved backwards. Just put the head down and push on.

 At mile 20 the pr was gone but still a shot for the BQ but I was wearing down fast and by 22 I knew there was no way I would be going to Boston. I still didn't want to give up so I dug deep and pushed harder but I couldn't maintain the pace but for a short distance before slowing down again. By 23 I was just hoping I could run my 2nd fasted marathon ever and I was giving it all I had to push into the wind but by mile 24 even that goal was gone. At that point I just wanted it to be over. It was so tempting to just walk it in but I was determined to do my best despite the disappointment so I trudge on running as fast as my dead legs could turnover which was not very fast I'm afraid.

 So I ended up in 3:49:50. a respectable time for me especially I guess under the conditions. Another thing that may have played a part in slowing so much is that I was probably dehydrated. Arriving 3 days early and staying in the hotel most of that time I was out of my normal routine and probably didn't drink nearly   enough and probably started the race with a deficit. I did go through the normal routine before the start but I never had the urge to pee as  most of us usually do and at the faster race pace I was not able to drink enough since I was already behind on the hydration. But, nothing can be done about that or the conditions. Just happy I gave it my best shot.

 Now it's time to move on.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Myrtle Beach Marathon Preview

 I am looking forward to going for a pr and a BQ this weekend. I made the decision to return here shortly after failing to get the BQ last year at Tobacco Road but I had one more chance in October at the Wineglass Marathon. Injury caused another failure there so it was on for MB. The problem was I needed to begin the training  but first I had to get over the injuries that had been cramping my running plans since August. I still had a couple of events to complete, most importantly the 50 miler at Tussey Mountainback to get the Western States qualifier. Miraculously the legs held up and it seemed that the injury actually began to improve at the 40 mile mark of that race and continued to get better over the next month.

  I was still having some issues and although I could still run I could not do anything at a fast pace. I was afraid if I could just get  through Derby 50k in November without further aggravating things that I was going to  have to take off the month of December to let it heal and if so there would be no chance for a fast time here at MB.  Well, I am very happy to say that I ran Derby practically pain free, recovered quickly and within a week I was back to my normal training volume of about 50 miles per week. I tested the legs out with some tempo pace runs and had no problems so I have been able to get in some good quality training despite having to do so many in some truly atrocious weather.

  I haven't even attempted to follow any particular training schedule but in a lot of cases just made up the workouts as I was starting off depending how I felt that day. Plenty of miles at tempo pace and marathon goal pace. I was able to do this while building my mileage in January up to 60 mile per week before finally doing a two week taper.

  The main reasons for choosing MB is the fact that  it is  a very fast course and usually the weather is going to be in a range conducive to running well. Looks like we get lucky with that this year with lows in the upper 30's and high in the low 50's and sunny !

 This will be my 6th time running the full marathon here. The first time I came and paced Karla in her first. I returned the next year and ran my pr at age 50 and qualified for Boston so I could run Boston with her. The next 3 years I just ran it with her for fun. I hope this year will be fun but its all about going FAST !

 Here is the race website:  

 If anyone cares to follow along there are apps available for iphone or android. Just search for the MB marathon app.